So today was Nintendo’s chance to wow gamers and the tech community. Did they succeed? The jury is still out as the major announcement of the Wii U, the next gaming console from Nintendo, isn’t slated for release until 2012. We’ll dive into the Wii U further but Nintendo has a number of other items that are available now so we’ll start with those.
The 3DS announcements focused mostly on new games with supposedly an unprecedented amount of titles on the way. Some of the anticipated titles are Super Mario 3D, Ocarina of Time 3D, Smash Bros., Mario Kart with ‘tricked out’ gameplay available by end of year. Luigi’s Mansion 2 was also mentioned but without a release date.
The 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda played big at the opening of Nintendo’s presentation and they put forth plenty of Zelda for every platform. Along with Ocarina of Time 3D for 3DS, The Legend of Zelda Four Swords for DsiWare will be released in September and will be free. Four Swords will allow you to play with friends not just solo gameplay. The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword will continue the legacy with its release for the Wii this holiday season. There is much more to read about Skyward Sword on wikipedia.
Wii U Nintendo Console
Wii U is the next game console from Nintendo. The console itself, as it is now, has a similar look to a portable or external cd/dvd drive. Although the look of the console will likely change, there is still the commonality of small size which makes placing the console in small areas easy.
The new controller that is part of the console makes Nintendo’s Wii U game console strikingly different from other consoles. Imagine, watching a movie, pausing it then playing the same movie from a different room in the home from the pause point, much like the Roku which we reviewed recently. The Wii U will allow the same pause and restart functionality with gameplay from TV to controller. The Wii U has a 6.2 inch display screen and has 1080p HD resolution. The Nintendo Wii U controller acts as a portable unit for the main console so that you can continue to play games while others watch other programming on the TV. The Wii U controller is not separate from the game console unit such that it is not meant to be a mobile playing device like the Sony PSP, but is of course wireless.
The Nintendo Wii U controller allows for playing solely on the controller or in concert with the game console. The 6.2 inch 1080p HD screen is a touchscreen display making the similarity to iPads and the like very noticeable. Tablet-like pens can also be used on the screen to act as creative tools for drawing or writing. The controller is completely backwards compatible with existing Wii accessories. While gaming is priority, the Wii U controller adds functionality with features like microphone, speakers, tactile controls to compliment the touchscreen and a front facing camera which is perfect for video calls.
The Wii U controller can act as a supplement for games when viewing on a TV screen. Using sub-menus on the controller while playing Zelda for example is like having a extra screen space where you don’t have to compromise video real estate to access inventory or maps. Although much of the supplement is speculative at this point, the screenshots displayed during the E3 presentation point towards those sort of features.
While there is no specific release date for Wii U, it is expected to be sometime after March 31st, 2012. No pricing information was given but is expected to be in line with the cost of the original Wii. Watch the full Nintendo Wii U video presentation for yourself.
The following games were listed as potential titles:
- Darksiders II
- Batman Arkham City
- Assassin’s Creed
- Aliens Colonial Marines
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online
- Metro Last Light
- Tekken (includes editable characters)
- Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Do you think Nintendo said or did enough this E3 to sway some hardcore gamers back their way? Will Nintendo still be relevant as a gaming platform company or fall off after the allure of fancy new hardware wears off? Maybe you think Nintendo is the end all be all of gaming. Let us know in the comments!